FINDLAY - Testimony neared an end yesterday in the trial of man accused of torturing a 13-year-old girl before burying her alive in an underground pipe.
Nathan Graham is acting as his own lawyer in his trial in Hancock County Common Pleas Court. He is charged with 16 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping, and rape.
Prosecutors say he could get more than 150 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Graham is one of several people accused of beating the girl at a party Feb. 13, 1999, then leaving her in a 6-foot-deep pipe and piling chunks of cement on top of her. Five others have been convicted.
Yesterday, Graham called a Findlay police detective who interviewed the victim after the attack.
Graham is portraying himself as the one who rescued the girl and kept her from being killed. He has tried to shift major blame for the assault to Philip Cramer, one of the people convicted.
Detective Jack Oakman said the girl told him that after being beaten at a party at an apartment and tied up and put in a car trunk, Cramer and Kathy Emmons told her they would kill her.
The officer testified that she told him it was Cramer who cut away her clothing with a machete after she had been taken from the party to where Graham lived.
Testimony by other defendants named Graham as the one who used the machete.
The victim told him Graham loaded a gun and told her she would be dead by 7 a.m., Detective Oakman said. Graham claims he went along with such threats for the others to hear but planned to help her later.
Detective Oakman said the victim told him that when Graham and Cramer threw her into an underground pipe in a wooded area, Graham said he would be back for her later, but Cramer would kill them both if he found out.
Police found the girl in Graham's residence after he had returned to the pipe and pulled her out.
Graham also called Allison Motter, now 18, who was at the party. She initially had implicated Graham in the assault but claimed yesterday he was not a leader in the pummeling of the girl.
Questioned about the discrepancy by Prosecutor Robert Fry, Ms. Motter said her memory was better now than just after the incident.
Witnesses told police the girl had been flirting with men at the party, which angered their girlfriends. Police say three women began punching the girl, then others joined in the beating.
In another twist, Cramer and Emmons, both serving prison sentences for their roles, were married in a jailhouse ceremony. Both have testified for the prosecution in exchange for reduced sentences.